“The Lamp In The Glass”

Untitled poem by Ian McRae

the lamp in the glass
is stretched and squashed
into tan mushroom with whitish
stem, and then two-

in the glass an in
perfect sun is washing
nick and grain of sand
into blackest water-

in the water is confined
to the glass a sun
swims on its surface
and in the glass, a lamp

I sat on the table next to Jon’s desk while he was in his chair in front of this computer.  Our friend, Ian was on the speakerphone reading one of his new poems.  Jon and I listened silently.  Then Jon asked Ian to read the poem again.

“I don’t know if I’m missing the metaphor,” I said, “but seeing the lamp in the glass…that’s just the kind of thing I would try to take a picture of.”

“No metaphor this time,” Ian answered, “I was just sitting there and saw this lamp through my glass.”

The imagery of the poem stayed with me. When the power went out last week and I saw the reflection of our lamp in the fish tank I took a picture of it and thought of Ian’s poem.

Ian came by for dinner tonight.

As always when he comes to visit, we talk about writing and the creative life.  He and Jon talk often on the phone, and every time Ian comes to the farm I can see the change in him.  He is easier and more open as the friendship deepens.

Tonight I showed Ian my photo of the lamp in the fish tank.  He seemed pleased to have inspired me.

Ian’s poem typed on coffee-stained paper.

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